Sunday, July 31, 2011

NANA buys Gulf offshore platform maintenance group

By Tim Bradner
Alaska Journal of Commerce

NANA Development Corp., the business subsidiary of NANA Regional Corp. of Kotzebue, signed an agreement to purchase a major Louisiana oil platform maintenance contractor, an acquisition that will increase the size of the corporation by about 10 percent.

NANA announced July 25 that it will purchase Grand Isle Shipyard, a long-established platform maintenance operator in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that now services about 700 offshore platforms in the area.

Grand Isle has about $200 million a year in revenues and employs 1,400. NANA had $1.59 billion in revenues in its last financial year and currently employs about 13,000 worldwide.

Helvi Sandvik, NANA Development's president, said the numbers underestimate the importance of this for the corporation.

"This strengthens the oil and gas support part of our business and allows us to move into the Lower 48 oil and gas service market. It offers long-term stability for us," Sandvik said in an interview. "The size (of the acquisition) isn't huge, but it's a very strategic acquisition for us."

In the July 25 announcement, NANA said Grand Isle Shipyard President Mark Pregeant and the company's management team would stay on under the new ownership.

"This agreement is good for Louisiana and good for Alaska because two stable, respected companies that value doing things the right way – safety and employees first – will grow and expand, creating jobs and economic development," Pregeant said.

NANA has three decades of experience in providing support to North Slope oil and gas producers, with services that include facility management, catering, housekeeping and security, as well as engineering and fuel service to contractors. NANA in the past has held part-ownership in drill rigs.

NANA currently owns a small working interest in the Endicott oilfield, a producing field in shallow water just offshore from the Prudhoe Bay field.

Sandvik said Grand Isle started in 1948 providing service mainly to the Louisiana fishing industry and then shifted to support of offshore platforms as the Gulf's petroleum industry developed.

The "shipyard" in the name is mainly a historical artifact from Grand Isle's history, she said. The company now focuses mainly on maintenance and repair of producing platforms, not drilling or construction.

Sandvik said the Grand Isle purchase will provide new opportunities for other NANA companies in related fields, like oil field and mining construction and engineering. It will also give NANA valuable experience in offshore support if oil discoveries are made off Alaska's coasts.

"The future of Alaska's petroleum industry is clearly offshore," Sandvik said.

But the main benefit of bringing Grand Lyle into the NANA family is diversification into a new region in an industry in which NANA has more than 30 years of experience, she said.

NANA, based in Kotzebue, has 12,500 Inupiat shareholders. The company employs 5,000 Alaskans among its 13,000 worldwide workforce, including 1,315 Alaska Native shareholders of the corporation.

NANA had a net income of $41.1 million in 2010. The corporation's biggest source of income comes through its ownership of the Red Dog Mine in the De Long Mountains about 90 miles north of Kotzebue. The mine, one of the world's largest producers of zinc and lead, paid $146.3 million in net proceeds to NANA in the corporation's 2010 financial year.

NANA buys Gulf offshore platform maintenance group was republished with the permission of the Alaska Journal of Commerce. Tim Bradner can be reached at